A matrix is a tool that allows you to quickly compare and contrast  multiple sources by placing their aims,  methods, and findings in  one chart.  These tables  allow you to see similarities or distinctions in methodologies, limitations, and findings in studies with related aims so you can look at a field more globally to identify a  niche to explore, or a new direction to pursue, or a potential knowledge gap. By comparing multiple sources through this method you can quickly identify commonalities and key differences that will allow you to propose a unique thesis or a potential research design for future inquiry. While you do not have to use a matrix to write a literature review, it is a great resource in seeing relationships between studies, and it becomes more essential as you examine more and more sources.

Here is an example of a matrix  with common elements; however, the categories of a matrix are usually dependent on the specific discipline, so feel free to adjust this document  in a way that best serves your research.

Literature Review Matrix